There are few opportunities to eat a meal in Kaloko Industrial Park – the most obvious one being the big box shopping mecca of West Hawaii. Hordes of Costco shoppers line up daily to eat bargain-basement meals at the snackbar – particularly the pizza slice with drink for less than what it normally costs to make. I am certainly not kiboshing the experience of eating fundamental pizza, (the size of a tire on my SUV), or those colossal hotdogs and goliath sized sodas for $1.50. With today’s economy moving in an ominous direction, I’ll bet the lineup at those windows will resemble queues for a popular amusement park ride.
If you eventually get annoyed with all that doughy filler, venture mauka from Costco’s parking lot to the Big Island Pizza Napoletano. The owners (wisely) assumed the former Zacchini’s Pizzeria lease and inherited the impressive oven that prior owner, Barbara Zacchini (R.I.P, Barbara), brought in for her dream restaurant. A great concept for Kona, and well received, Zacchini’s sadly closed due to the former owner’s untimely illness. Many customers missed those great pizzas, and the convenience of having good food right down the hill from upcountry Kona.
Also located in Hilo, Big Island Pizza offers many items such as Flatbreads with assorted toppings, Wraps, Subs, and Hot Sandwiches, besides the tasty pizzas and calzones.
Carolyn, Mei and I shared a Spinach Salad ($8.75), with fresh spinach, hard boiled eggs, sliced mushrooms, crumbled bacon (the real stuff), sliced red onions, grape tomatoes, shredded mozzarella and Honey Mustard Dressing. It was large, and we could not finish it because we also ordered two pizzas (!) @ $17 each for the 12” size.
Pizza #1: Spicy Arugula with medium crust – home style marinara sauce, red pepper oil, salami, arugula and mozzarella. True to it ‘s name, it WAS a bit fiery! The medium crust was perfect in that the dough did not overwhelm the toppings.
Pizza #2: Spinach Pesto – Mozzarella, Italian sausage, spinach, feta, mushrooms, rosemary, pine nuts on Pesto Sauce. Very flavorful, with a hint of pine nut and rosemary – not overpowering. The medium crust, again, was baked perfectly.
No one in their right mind likes to leave pizza on the tray. Frankly, I have always stuffed that last piece down my throat just because I couldn’t stand the thought of taking it home or worse – leaving it there. Because we had five surplus slices and salad , our waiter thoughtfully brought us two take out boxes.
Many have remarked, “…what’s the big deal?? Pizza is pizza…”. Well if you’re standing in line at Costco, I would tend to agree. However, if you feel like sitting down in a casual, but cozy establishment, and sharing (or not!) food with flavor that hits you between the eyes – then Big Island Pizza Napoletana is for you! The staff is friendly and attentive; it’s air conditioned; lots of parking available; beer and wine available; and great menu. So what the *#$%& are you waiting for??
I will return this weekend to emancipate myself from the kitchen and pick up a couple of NY Reubens on Rye – which I’ve heard are fantastic – baked in that oven!
333-3400 for take out
73-5618 Maiau St (above Costco)